There has been nothing but trouble for a local elderly couple since they retired and bought a mobile home at Rancho Fullerton Mobile Home Park in May 2022, signing an over 36-page lease for the space in English (though their first language is Korean). The couple have been good citizens, have always paid their space rent on time, and have made friends at the park where Mr. Kim serves as the Vice President of the Homeowners Association.
In June 2022, Mr. Kim, wanting to give his wife a lovely enclosed sunroom, applied for a building permit that the park manager also signed. Due to a fixed income and because he had extensive construction experience, Mr. Kim, even at age 78, set upon building it himself. He set up his tools and brought in the necessary construction materials. Two months into the project, park manager Andrea West was frequently heard shouting that Mr. Kim was in violation as she took pictures of the construction site.
Feeling rushed to get the job done and stop the harassment, Mr. Kim accidentally severed a finger which caused the completion of the addition to be delayed. But, not even a doctor’s note prohibiting Mr. Kim from continuing the project for several months in order for him to heal paused the harassment of the elderly couple, who received a 7-day Notice of Violation in early September from Park attorney Gregory Beam. The notice demanded the construction materials stored on the side of the property be removed immediately. A second 7-day Notice sent two months later specified that all construction materials be removed and that construction details be completed within the seven days.
After Mr. Kim’s finger had healed, he completed the sunroom, which passed inspection, and cleaned up the property, but park management remained unsatisfied and took Mr. Kim and his wife to court on June 15, 2023. Translation services at the court were inadequate, and the couple could not understand what was happening. Mr. Kim says that the judge never saw his submitted time-dated photos of the completed project and the current state of the property but relied instead on photos taken earlier during the construction process that the park’s attorney introduced as recent photos. As a result, the judge ordered a list of changes to be made that the Kims had already made and further ordered them to pay the park’s attorney fees. Mr. Kim said on the way out of court, the park’s attorney told him he could expect an eviction notice.
The Kims re-submitted the time-stamped photos to the court and to the park’s attorney on June 28, showing the listed changes required by the court had already been made. The following month, on July 14, 2023, the Kims received a 60-day Notice to Terminate Possession (i.e., eviction notice) listing the same original violations (which had already been remedied) and adding on additional violations listed as “installing a railing in the carport, installing makeshift fencing around the premises, installing wooden planters, installing a bug zapper…, having overgrown plants and weeds on the premises and planting a tree.”
Mr. Kim commented that Park Manager West had demanded that the “unapproved” tomato plant in their garden be removed and that grass growing up through the gravel-covered area be removed.
Multiple park residents, contacted by the Observer, speculated that the park management and a local realtor have conspired to force homeowners to sell their mobile homes to the park at low prices. For example, Cathy Borowiec, the previous lessee of the space where Kim currently leases, stated that management had tried to evict her and had relentlessly harassed her in hopes that she would sell her mobile home to them. Borowiec instead went to court, winning her wrongful eviction and harassment case against the park in October 2021. She subsequently moved out and sold the home to the Kims and said Park Manager Ms. West was unhappy.
The Kims, expecting a peaceful retirement, are now considering their options which may include selling their home or fighting to stay. They feel they have been unfairly targeted by park management and say they aren’t the only ones receiving such treatment though others are afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation.
Rancho Fullerton Mobile Home Park is owned by the Nicholas Family Trust, whose beneficiary is Susan (James) Denton.
Park manager Andrea West, the park’s attorney Greg Beam, and the park’s owner Susan (James) Denton, when contacted by the Observer, declined to comment or return phone calls to them requesting their version of events.